Culture / Food

Spring DIY: Natural Egg Dyes

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Naturally Dyed Eggs

Eggs are the  quintessential springtime symbol – fertility, rebirth, farm-fresh food. Eggs are a major part of the spring celebrations in our home.  From Easter to the equinox and even Earth Day – we cook with, bake with, dye, and hunt for eggs.

Over the last few years our family has been experimenting with natural egg dyes and decorations. Some attempts have been disappointing and others have produced stunning results. Here is guide to what has been tried and true in our egg dyeing tradition.
What you’ll need:

  • Eggs
  • Flowers and leaves collected from your yard/garden/local park
  • Rubber Bands (to make stripes or secure pantyhose)
  • Pantyhose (to hold flora tightly to the egg)
  • Natural Dyes (onion skins, cabbage, and turmeric, in our case)
  • Vinegar

Directions:

1. Place the eggs in a pot and cover with one inch of water. Bring water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for fifteen minutes. Rinse with cold water and allow to cool.

Eggs

2.  Boil the natural dyeing agents. We used as little water as possible and a dash of vinegar. We boiled each for at least 30 minutes to make sure as much color transferred to the water as possible. Yellow onion skins yielded a deep red that is nearly maroon. Red onion skins created an orange-rust color. Tturmeric turned the eggs a pale yellow and red cabbage resulted in a deep blue hue.

Onion

Red Onion Skins

Cabbage

Red Cabbage

Turmeric

Turmeric

3. While eggs and dyes are cooling, collect leaves and flowers. We have used  daffodils, blades of grass, Forget-Me-Nots, dandelions, ivy and random weeds. Anything with a nice silhouette will do.

Flora

 4. Decorate the eggs.  (Note: Don’t be afraid to break this project into two or more days.  We often cook/scavenge on the first day, decorate and dye the next day and even leave some eggs in the dye overnight to achieve darker colors.  It’s the journey, not the destination…especially when you have younger kids.)

To decorate with leaves and flowers, place the plant against the egg as you’d like the silhouette to appear. Then wrap the hose tightly around the egg to keep it in place. Secure with a rubber band and you are ready for dyeing. You can also use the rubber bands to create stripes – those thick ones that come with broccoli stalks are the best for this!

Prepped eggs

Eggs prepped for dyeing

 5.  Strain the dye and divide into cups. Coffee mugs work great. Place eggs in dye and let them sit in the dye until you’ve achieved the desired shade.  

Dye cups

Yellow and blue make green

As I mentioned, we have left eggs to marinate in the dye overnight which has resulted in our most vibrant blues and reds. Also, don’t be afraid to layer colors. Lightly dye undecorated eggs, then add embellishments and re-dye for a multi-color look.  

Dyeing

6.  Allow eggs to dry and enjoy!  We find the cardboard cartons work great.

Freshly dyed

Flower printed eggs

Leaves, Grass, Daffodil, Forget-Me-Nots, Leaves, Dandelion

 And finally, so we don’t leave you trying to find a way to eat all those hard-boiled eggs…

Leo’s Famous Egg Salad!

Egg HuntIngredients:

  • Hard boiled eggs, chopped (as many as you have)
  • Mayonnaise (enough to give the eggs a creamy consistency)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A touch of Dijon mustard

Mix together and enjoy with crackers – preferably on a picnic!

POST PHOTO CREDITS: SANDRA TELEP
FEATURED PHOTO CREDIT: VILSESKOGEN VIA PHOTOPIN CC

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2 Comments

  1. We did this when I was a kid, and I have never been able to recreate it as an adult. Reading your instructions, I now understand why. Totally going to try that cabbage color. Thanks!

  2. The cabbage is my favorite! And I love that the color you get is so different from the original color of the vegetable.

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